Puntland: Media practitioners have expressed concerns over NUSOJ’s future, Says MAP.

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Garowe, Puntland Somalia, May 3rd 2016: Following the Somalia Supreme Court’s verdict on the 10th February 2016 over the national union of Somali journalists (NUSOJ) secretariat that startled the Somali Media fraternity across the country of which resulted to divisions amongst Somali journalists. To patch up the matter, a nine-person intercession committee was set up to solve style-guru the leadership wrangles among the two factions of the National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) and has called for fresh elections to restore order in the union.

The Somali supreme court has issued decrees asking the Benadir Appeal Court to ensure that an independent Committee to hold the National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) election since the previous leaders’ mandate expired.

Similarly, court has called on the Benadir Appeals Court to observe the upcoming NUSOJ elections and to ensure that the elections are fair and free, and that all journalists will have the opportunity to elect their leaders in order for them to have the legitimacy needed to represent Somali journalist.

(please refer to the attached documents for reference of the different court statements)

The Media Association of Puntland (MAP), collectively with its members the Puntland media practitioners have expressed concerns over the contradicting statements observed from the Somali federal Judiciary that have sounded directly interfering the very own autonomy of the NUSOJ affairs and more sensitive the statement impacts the autonomy of NUSOJ leadership election processes.

In-line with the aforementioned concerns, MAP received an official communication call from Puntland Journalists in which they raised solemn uncertainties over the recent consequential Somali court decisions amid the NUSOJ secretariat and leadership election dates.

In-consideration to the concerns raised from our members, a joint committee was appointed comprising of MAP executive committee members and representatives from a number of Puntland media house in-order to critique the concerns put forward, the committee proposed a number of points that it strongly encourages the concerned persons or organizations to consider in favor of NUSOJ’s future at length, in order to bring back sanity and decorum in Somalia’s.

MAP’s secretary general speaking to the participants at the closure of the week-long consultative meeting noted that ”MAP has been very much concerned about the crisis that has gripped NUSOJ, and in that regard, we as MAP encourages a healthy process of NUSOJ elections that will be productive with a strong solidarity amongst the media practitioners across the Somali Media fraternity.
She added ”Somali Media will not be able to play its key role in building conditions for peace and democracy if NUSOJ remains divided,” she said. “We need a strong, unified and representative national journalist body independent from any-kind of interferences and a body that could defend the rights of Somalia’s disputed fourth estate”

After consultations with members and acknowledging the existing threats, MAP advises the following to the concerned;

• Postponement for the scheduled date set for NUSOJ leadership election from 3 May 2016 to a period that gives space to the rectifications over the  vital concerns raised.

• It is necessary that NUSOJ obtains a legal ground that is fully independent from any kind of interferences that could lead to jeopardy and thus a      violation its constitutional rights of freedom of association and or union.

• Ensure that the Somali Media practitioners are inclusive in the process at the same time the mechanism used are free and fair.

Open justice is a hallmark of the rule of law. And that is what MAP expects to be practiced by our federal judiciary, It is an essential requisite of the  justice system not to dictate when? where? and the modus-operandi in which associations and or unions hold thier elections. what has been observed in  the recent months especially the court rulings directly violate the rights of freedom of Association and assembly.

The media play a vital role in representing the public and reflecting the public interest. However, as is well known, there are some exceptions to these  principles. Difficulties and uncertainty can sometimes arise in ensuring they are correctly applied and observed. Henceforth, MAP as a responsible  institution mandatory to monitor, ensuring that Journalist rights are not violated at any stake calls for a nationwide solidarity amongst the Somali Media  fraternity.

It is important to note that earlier on the 29th December 2015 the Somali federal parliament passed a restrictive media law of which the somali media  fraternity expressed a gross outrage.The Somali “media Law” that consists of 42 articles and was passed by the Somali federal Parliament on December  29th 2015, with provisions that seek to insulate public officials from public scrutiny, significant government controls, criminalises media freedom, and  creates harsh sanctions which excessively limit media freedom.

Call for responsiblity
The Media Association of Puntland calls for the Somali Judiciary system should base its decisions in a responsible manner and avoid any act that could undermine the indepence and the legitimacy of the national union of the Somali journalists. Similarly we raise our voice to the Somali federal government should respect the provision of freedom of association as clearly stated in the Somali constitution.

Call for observance
In regards to the above statement, MAP would like to take this opportunity to share its concern with the international community especially int’l right groups and the Somali Media interest groups.

MAP will always advocate and stand for the unity and solidarity of the somali journalists and we encourage an independent process of elections that will lead to a legitimate NUSOJ respected both locally and internationally.


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